‘Women’s issues’: Major factor or mere distraction in Colo Senate race
Thursday, October 07, 2010 at 9:39 am
The media has ignited this week with stories in Colorado centered on “life” and “women’s” issues. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is underlining GOP rival Ken Buck’s conservative stance on abortion, which would limit access to fertility treatments and birth control and perhaps end stem cell research. Although he has backed off from and played down his position on the issue, key supporters of both candidates are not likely to let it drop.
Polls and voting trends here suggest this is a winning topic for Bennet, who is dominating Buck in gaining support among women, moderate and independent voters.
Even as Buck has retreated from his support for the so-called personhood amendment, which would grant fertilized human eggs full citizenship rights, and from his intent to introduce a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v Wade, and even as he emphasizes that he means to go to Washington chiefly to work on jobs and the economy, his stance against abortion in all cases is unwavering and will continue to garner attention.
From Thursday’s New York Times story on Bennet’s pivot to abortion as a main topic in the Senate race:
The Buck campaign has said the attacks are simply an attempt to change the subject.
“The No. 1 issues are jobs and the economy, and Michael Bennet can’t run on that,” said Owen Loftus, a spokesman for the Buck campaign. “It’s a desperate effort by a desperate campaign.”
Mr. Loftus said Mr. Buck believed that life begins at conception and opposed abortion even in cases of rape and incest, as the ads say, but that his focus as a senator would be the economy.
For many voters, on the right and left, however, the economy doesn’t eclipse abortion.
October, for example, is “Respect Life Month” for Catholics. Churches will host events and conferences and priests are sure to deliver sermons on abortion and related issues as the month progresses, their talks sure to grow increasingly fraught as November 2nd Election Day approaches.
Leading the charge in Colorado, Achbishop Charles Chaput wrote a column this week for the Denver Catholic Register that indirectly addresses Buck’s backing off from and playing down his positions on abortion.
“Even in a time of continuing economic failure and confusion, abortion is not merely one among many other urgent issues. It cannot be forgotten or covered over,” wrote Chaput.
Recent Bennet ads on the issue are drawing national attention: